October 22, 2012

Marshall Medical Center offers Halloween safety tips

LEWISBURG, Tenn. – An estimated 41 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 could hit the trick-or-treat trails this Halloween according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Marshall Medical Center (MMC) joins the nation’s emergency physicians in hoping that children enjoy the holiday safely and do not experience any situation that would include spending time in the emergency department. 

“Children should be out having fun and spending time with family and friends,” said Dr. Andrew Sama, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). “They should not have to spend Halloween or any other night for that matter in the emergency department because of an injury that could have been easily prevented.” 

The risk of a child being hit by a car is roughly four times higher on Halloween than any other night of the year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other common Halloween injuries include eye injuries from sharp objects and burns from flammable costumes. 

“Halloween is an exciting time for young people, but improperly fitting costumes, increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic and other factors can increase the risk of injury,” said Dr. Thomas Mitchell, emergency department medical director at MMC. “Trick-or-treaters can reduce the likelihood of an accident by following some simple safety guidelines.”

MMC joins the ACEP in offering the following tips for a safe and fun Halloween: 

  • All children should be accompanied or supervised by parents or other responsible adults to reinforce all safety tips.
  • Make sure your child stays on the sidewalks—and off of the roadway—as much as possible and obeys all traffic signals.
  • Discuss the importance of staying together in a group. Require at least one adult to serve as chaperone during trick-or-treat gatherings. 
  • Make sure your child knows the potential dangers from strangers. Make sure they know never to accept rides from strangers or visit unfamiliar homes or areas.
  • Avoid costumes that could cause children to trip, such as baggy pants, long hems, high heels and oversized shoes. Avoid costumes that obstruct the child’s sight or vision.
  • Avoid masks if possible. If your child must wear one, make sure it is well ventilated.
  • Make sure costume fabric, wigs and beards are made of flame-resistant materials, such as nylon or polyester.
  • Keep candlelit jack-o-lanterns away from children.  
  • Make sure costumes are visible at night. Avoid dark colors and add reflective tape to costumes so your child is more visible to motor vehicles.
  • Make sure you see all of the candy before your child eats it. Avoid candy that is not wrapped in its original wrapper, as well as all fruit.
  • Stay in well-lit, familiar neighborhoods if possible.
  • Use a flashlight while trick-or-treating as visibility decreases long before it gets dark.
  • Check accessories such as swords, knives, wands and other pointed objects. Make sure they are made from flexible materials and have dull edges.